US9097097B2 - Method of determination of fracture extent - Google Patents

Method of determination of fracture extent Download PDF

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US9097097B2
US9097097B2 US13847962 US201313847962A US9097097B2 US 9097097 B2 US9097097 B2 US 9097097B2 US 13847962 US13847962 US 13847962 US 201313847962 A US201313847962 A US 201313847962A US 9097097 B2 US9097097 B2 US 9097097B2
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method
fractures
signal
fracture
pressure pulse
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US20140284049A1 (en )
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Rocco DiFoggio
Anthony A. DiGiovanni
Avi Hetz
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Baker Hughes Inc
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Baker Hughes Inc
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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21BEARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING; OBTAINING OIL, GAS, WATER, SOLUBLE OR MELTABLE MATERIALS OR A SLURRY OF MINERALS FROM WELLS
    • E21B47/00Survey of boreholes or wells
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21BEARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING; OBTAINING OIL, GAS, WATER, SOLUBLE OR MELTABLE MATERIALS OR A SLURRY OF MINERALS FROM WELLS
    • E21B43/00Methods or apparatus for obtaining oil, gas, water, soluble or meltable materials or a slurry of minerals from wells
    • E21B43/25Methods for stimulating production
    • E21B43/26Methods for stimulating production by forming crevices or fractures
    • E21B43/267Methods for stimulating production by forming crevices or fractures reinforcing fractures by propping
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01VGEOPHYSICS; GRAVITATIONAL MEASUREMENTS; DETECTING MASSES OR OBJECTS
    • G01V3/00Electric or magnetic prospecting or detecting; Measuring magnetic field characteristics of the earth, e.g. declination, deviation
    • G01V3/18Electric or magnetic prospecting or detecting; Measuring magnetic field characteristics of the earth, e.g. declination, deviation specially adapted for well-logging
    • G01V3/26Electric or magnetic prospecting or detecting; Measuring magnetic field characteristics of the earth, e.g. declination, deviation specially adapted for well-logging operating with magnetic or electric fields produced or modified either by the surrounding earth formation or by the detecting device
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01VGEOPHYSICS; GRAVITATIONAL MEASUREMENTS; DETECTING MASSES OR OBJECTS
    • G01V1/00Seismology; Seismic or acoustic prospecting or detecting
    • G01V1/40Seismology; Seismic or acoustic prospecting or detecting specially adapted for well-logging
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01VGEOPHYSICS; GRAVITATIONAL MEASUREMENTS; DETECTING MASSES OR OBJECTS
    • G01V11/00Prospecting or detecting by methods combining techniques covered by two or more of main groups G01V1/00 - G01V9/00
    • G01V11/007Prospecting or detecting by methods combining techniques covered by two or more of main groups G01V1/00 - G01V9/00 using the seismo-electric effect
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01VGEOPHYSICS; GRAVITATIONAL MEASUREMENTS; DETECTING MASSES OR OBJECTS
    • G01V2210/00Details of seismic processing or analysis
    • G01V2210/10Aspects of acoustic signal generation or detection
    • G01V2210/12Signal generation
    • G01V2210/123Passive source, e.g. microseismics
    • G01V2210/1234Hydrocarbon reservoir, e.g. spontaneous or induced fracturing

Abstract

A pressure pulse is initiated from the wellbore into the fractured formation where the frac fluid brings into the fractures a material that is responsive to the pressure pulse alone. Alternatively, or with a combination with a wellbore pressure pulse, well conditions such as time exposure and temperature can initiate local pressure pulses within the fracture with the result being signal generation of an electromagnetic signal that is measured with multiple sensors to allow triangulation of the location of the fracture extremities. The material can be a piezoelectric material that responds to the pressure pulse or ferromagnetic materials that similarly respond to the pulse to create the measured signals. The material can be delivered initially with the frac fluid or at different points in time during the fracture operation. Different materials with unique signal generating characteristics can be used to get a clearer picture of the extent of the fracture.

Description

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The field of the invention is methods to determine the extent of fracture propagation from a borehole and more particularly creating a measurable signal that originates within the fracture by using a pressure wave to create an electromagnetic signal that is detected by surrounding sensors so as to triangulate the positions of the electromagnetic emissions and thereby the extent of the fracture.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Fracturing entails pumping large volumes of high pressure water and chemicals into a formation to initiate and propagate fractures emanating from a borehole. The proppants that are used are intended to lodge in the fractures to hold them open to facilitate subsequent production from that borehole or adjacent boreholes to the surface. While the volumes of the pumped fluid and the pressure at which such fluid is delivered can be measured, it is at best an indirect approximation of the fracture network that has been created in part because the width of the fracture is unknown and variable so that knowing the fracture volume does not allow one to estimate its area.

To gain further knowledge of the extent of the fracture network acoustic techniques have been suggested where the signal is generated from implosion of voids or explosions in a material delivered with the frac fluid. Some relevant background for such acoustic techniques is: US Publication 2009/0125240 USING MICROSEISMIC DATA TO CHARACTERIZE HYDRAULIC FRACTURES, SCHLUMBERGER; US Publication 2011/0188347 VOLUME IMAGING FOR HYDRAULIC FRACTURE CHARACTERIZATION, SCHLUMBERGER; U.S. Pat. No. 6,488,116 Acoustic receiver, Exxon; U.S. Pat. No. 5,963,508 System and method for determining earth fracture propagation,

Atlantic Richfield Company; U.S. Pat. No. 5,917,160 Single well system for mapping sources of acoustic energy, Exxon; U.S. Pat. No. 5,574,218 Determining the length and azimuth of fractures in earth formations, Atlantic Richfield Company; U.S. Pat. No. 5,010,527 Method for determining the depth of a hydraulic fracture zone in the earth, Gas Research Institute; U.S. Pat. No. 4,744,245 Acoustic measurements in rock formations for determining fracture orientation, Atlantic Richfield Company; U.S. Pat. No. 6,840,318 Method for Treating a Subterranean Formation (Enteric Coatings for Treatments), Schlumberger; 1993 Kumar—Bubble Cavitation Power Spectrum FIG. 18; 2000 Pulli & Harben—Imploding (Macroscopic) Glass Spheres FIG. 6 Freq Distribution to 5 Hz Plasma (sparker) sound source mostly 20-200 Hz; Jasco Pocket Book 3rd ed. Underwater Reference & Freq v. Source Air gun Freq Spectrum FIG. 8; 1997 Deanne—Sound generation by bubbles and waves in ocean FIG. 17a Spectral Density.pdf 1993 Cook—Spark Generated Bubbles Power Spectrum p 127; 1974 Underwater Low Frequency Sound Sources Air Gun FIG. 30p 75 Acoustic Frequency Distribution & p 79 Low Freq Cutoffs of Dif Sources.

The present invention addresses a different technique for signal generation that results in a measurable signal, preferably electromagnetic, that is triggered with preferably a pressure pulse using explosive material or other means of generated pressure energy to create the desired signal. In one embodiment the pressure pulse acts on piezoelectric materials to cause an array of measured signals. These and other aspects of the present invention will be more readily apparent from the detailed description and the associated drawing of the preferred embodiment while understanding that the full scope of the invention is to be determined from the appended claims.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A pressure pulse is initiated from the wellbore into the fractured formation where the frac fluid brings into the fractures a material that is responsive to the pressure pulse alone. Alternatively, or with a combination with a wellbore pressure pulse, well conditions such as time exposure and temperature can initiate local pressure pulses within the fracture with the result being signal generation of an electromagnetic signal that is measured with multiple sensors to allow triangulation of the location of the fracture extremities. The material can be a piezoelectric material that responds to the pressure pulse or ferromagnetic materials that similarly respond to the pulse to create the measured signals. The material can be delivered initially with the frac fluid or at different points in time during the fracture operation. Different materials with unique signal generating characteristics can be used to get a clearer picture of the extent of the fracture.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows the signal generating particles being delivered to create the fracture;

FIG. 2 is the view of FIG. 1 showing the initiation of the shock wave;

FIG. 3 shows the electromagnetic signal being generated; and

FIG. 4 a shows the sensing of the signal(s) at the borehole and surface locations;

FIG. 4 b is alternate embodiment of FIG. 4 a.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

At the beginning of the fracturing process (or, perhaps, even at one or more later times), a slug of microscopic triggerable sources 10 is mixed with the proppants 12 in the fracturing fluid. This initial fluid slug should be the leading fluid that remains in contact with the outer edges of the fracture. Although hydraulic fracturing pressures can reach as high as 10,000 to 15,000 psi, there are 3M glass Microbubbles that can withstand up to 18 000 psi. Using appropriately rated glass spheres (wall thickness and diameter in microns), keeps them intact during the fracturing process. Afterwards, a sudden pressure impulse 14 (such as a ram hitting a pressure piston or an explosive charge) could be used to create a pressure spike 16 that breaks a significant number of the glass spheres in their concentrated region near the fracture's edges. The implosions of the glass spheres mechanically impacts the smaller piezoelectric material 10 within the spheres to initiate an electromagnetic signal 18 that is detected from multiple locations 20 in the borehole and 22 at the surface and triangulated backward to their downhole locations.

Alternatively, time, temperature, pH, (and, perhaps, pressure for permeable coatings) act as triggers of these sources after the fracture has been completed. For example, a thin protective coating that degrades with time, temperature, or pH is placed over a microscopic core of something that chemically reacts very strongly with the fracturing fluid. When using pH as a trigger, enteric coatings are resistant to acids (low pH) but readily dissolve in bases (high pH) and reverse-enteric coatings readily dissolve in acids but not in bases. For example, the Group One metals (Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Rubidium, and Cesium) all react with water and the reaction intensity increases with molecular weight so the strongest reaction is for Cesium, which explodes upon contact with water and would apply a pressure pulse to the piezoelectric material. Francium can be used but is less advantageous because it is radioactive and it is only available in trace amounts.

A Group Two metal (Strontium) also reacts strongly with water as do various other chemical compounds (Sodium Carbide, Calcium Carbide, Aluminum Chloride, Lithium Hydride, Sodium Peroxide, etc.). Calcium Carbide and Sodium Carbide may be less expensive and more readily available materials as they are sometimes used in emergency flares or by blacksmiths to generate acetylene on demand for welding torches. The choice of degradable coating material and its thickness for the given environment of temperature, pressure, and fracturing fluid, would determine the approximate times at which these degradable protective coatings would be breached and microscopic explosions of these triggerable sources would take place.

Microscopic triggerable electromagnetic (piezoelectric) sources are mixed with ordinary proppants in a fracture fluid during hydraulic fracturing to allow these triggerable sources to be fired when it is believed that the fractures have stopped propagating and, thereby, to determine the extent of the fracture. The trigger can be a pressure pulse that exceeds the hydrostatic pressure rating of hollow glass microspheres (5 to 100 microns in diameter with wall thicknesses about 2 percent of their diameters) and causes them to implode and mechanically excite the smaller piezoelectric material within them and create a spark of many electromagnetic frequencies. Conceptually, it is similar to the sparking piezoelectric igniters used on natural gas appliances. When struck, they produce a spark, which includes a broad range of electromagnetic frequencies, which, like lightning, can often be heard as static on a transistor radio regardless of the radio station to which it is tuned. Alternatively, it could simply the passage of time at temperature which slowly erodes an degradable protective coating over a highly-chemically-reactive core (e.g., Cesium metal, sodium carbide, etc.) that reacts with the fracturing fluid (e.g., water) causing a “pop” upon contact that applies a pressure pulse to a piezoelectric material and generates a corresponding electromagnetic signal from the resulting spark, which includes a broad range of different electromagnetic frequencies. The downhole locations of these triggered micro-electromagnetic sources when they are fired would be determined by in-well or surface electromagnetic detectors at multiple locations and by triangulation.

In a variation of the method the material that receives the pressure pulse can be a ferromagnetic or ferromagnetic material 10′ whereby the ferromagnetic or ferromagnetic material under the action of the shock pulse transforms to a paramagnetic material subsequently generating a current and voltage response as described by J. Johnson, “Theoretical and Experimental Analysis of the Ferromagnetic Explosively Shocked Current Pulse Generator,” J. Appl. Phys, 30 [4], 1959, pp 241S-243S, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein in its entirety by this reference. It may further be appreciated that the size, shape, and construct of the magnetic material or particle will influence the subsequent I-V response to the shock pulse and therefore correspondingly the measureable signal by which an embodiment of this invention is enabled. Suitable particle morphologies can include simple granular media with monomodal or multimodal distributions or also include layered constructions of one or more materials, elongated particles, hollow spheres or rods, platelets, fibers, and agglomerates thereof. Size range of particles may extend from the nano-scale where the largest physical average dimension measured linearly does is between 1 and 100 nanometers. Additional sizes from 100 nm to 500 nm, 500 nm to 1 micron, 1 micron to 10 microns, and particles or clusters in excess of 10 microns to 1000 microns, or particles and cluster between 1 mm and 10 mm are anticipated. Examples of suitable ferromagnetic or ferromagnetic materials are elemental iron, nickel, cobalt, dysprosium, gadolinium, and alloys of said materials. Also suitable materials include chromium (IV) oxide, gallium manganese arsenide, magnetite, samarium-cobalt, neodymium-cobalt, and similar alloys, yttrium iron garnets, spinels of the form AB2O4, where A and B represent various metal cations, usually including iron Fe, MnBi, EuO, CrBr3, EuS, MOFe2O3, and other oxides of iron, cobalt, and nickel. These magnetic materials can be used singly, combined with one or more constituents, and also mixed with a piezoelectric material 10 that in response to the pressure pulse also emits electromagnetic energy that can be measured by sensors in the wellbore or/and at the surface. It can be appreciated that the different materials have different magnetisms and therefore different responses to the shock pressure and therefore the mixture of the materials and the injection sequence into the wellbore would be chosen to maximize the embodiments of the invention. In the downhole application, the sensor placement enables a triangulation technique for allowing the computation of the configuration of the fracture.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the pressure pulse can be created in a variety of ways that in turn will allow the generation of signals from the leading fronts of the fracture. Depending on the material used and the timing of when it is pumped into the fracture and its concentration and other variables, the signals that are received at spaced sensors can allow data to be processed that indicates not only the leading fronts of the fractures created but also intermediate data as to the fracture propagation between the borehole and the leading fronts. The injected material during fracturing can be supplied as a uniform material initially added to the proppant or a material that is integrated with the proppant. The pressure pulse can be generated explosively or by a reaction that is suitably delayed to allow placement in the borehole adjacent the fracture regime or in the fractures themselves. The electromagnetic signals are generated in the fractures and the pulse can also be initiated at this location.

The above description is illustrative of the preferred embodiment and many modifications may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the invention whose scope is to be determined from the literal and equivalent scope of the claims below:

Claims (19)

We claim:
1. A fracture mapping method, comprising:
non-electrically generating at least one electromagnetic signal in subterranean fractures;
sensing said signal;
determining the extent of said fractures with said signal.
2. The method of claim 1, comprising:
sensing said signal in spaced locations.
3. The method of claim 2, comprising:
locating sensors in a borehole and on a surface location above said borehole for said sensing.
4. The method of claim 3, comprising:
triangulating said sensors to determine the extent of the fractures.
5. A fracture mapping method, comprising:
generating at least one electromagnetic signal in subterranean fractures;
sensing said signal;
determining the extent of said fractures with said signal;
using a pressure pulse to trigger said electromagnetic signal.
6. The method of claim 5, comprising:
creating said pressure pulse with explosives.
7. The method of claim 6, comprising:
creating said pressure pulse reactively with well fluids in the borehole.
8. The method of claim 5, comprising:
extending said fractures with said pressure pulse.
9. A fracture mapping method, comprising:
generating at least one electromagnetic signal in subterranean fractures;
sensing said signal;
determining the extent of said fractures with said signal;
using a piezoelectric material to trigger said signal.
10. The method of claim 9, comprising:
adding said piezoelectric material to proppant used to create said fractures at the outset of forming said fractures.
11. The method of claim 10, comprising:
adding piezoelectric material throughout the formation of said fractures.
12. The method of claim 9, comprising:
using a ferromagnetic material to trigger said signal.
13. The method of claim 9, comprising:
using lead zirconate titanate, lead zirconate niobate, lead manganese niobate, or/and lead lanthanum zirconate titanate as said piezoelectric materials.
14. A fracture mapping method, comprising:
generating at least one electromagnetic signal in subterranean fractures;
sensing said signal;
determining the extent of said fractures with said signal;
using a ferromagnetic or/and a ferrimagnetic material to trigger said signal.
15. The method of claim 14, comprising:
adding said ferromagnetic material to proppant used to create said fractures at the outset of forming said fractures.
16. The method of claim 15, comprising:
adding ferromagnetic material throughout the formation of said fractures.
17. The method of claim 14, comprising:
using as said magnetic materials elemental iron, nickel, cobalt, dysprosium, gadolinium, and alloys of said materials, chromium (IV) oxide, gallium manganese arsenide, magnetite, samarium-cobalt, neodymium-cobalt, yttrium iron garnets, spinels of the form AB2O4, where A and B represent various metal cations, comprising iron Fe, MnBi, EuO, CrBr3, EuS, MOFe2O3, and/or other oxides of iron, cobalt, and nickel.
18. The method of claim 14, comprising:
using granular media with monomodal or multimodal distributions or layered constructions of one or more materials, elongated particles, hollow spheres or rods, platelets, fibers, and agglomerates thereof for the shape of said magnetic particles.
19. The method of claim 14, comprising:
using magnetic particle size ranges wherein the largest physical average dimension measured linearly is between 1 and 100 nanometers or from 100 nm to 500 nm, 500 nm to 1 micron, 1 micron to 10 microns, and/or particles or clusters in excess of 10 microns to 1000 microns, or particles and clusters between 1 mm and 10 mm.
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